NaPoWriMo – #23

What is the gold standard of time?
And how do we tell time
by the sun and the stars
when the ever-constant sun
opens and closes the star gate
at different “times”
not just each day,
but each year
on the same day?
(Is that why we don’t
wear sun dials on our wrists?)
Just what is this thing we measure
and divide into smaller and smaller bits?
Who enforces this abstraction?
And what arrogance enables us,
mere specks in the cosmos,
to believe we are keeping time
not just for Greenwich
but for the entire Universe?

I think this poem probably reflects my ignorance of science more than anything, but it originated when I was looking up times of sunset. And of course, the time of sunset changes with daylight growing shorter and longer with the seasons, but didn’t realize that also, sunset is at a different time on the same day of different years. Of course it is, because with leap year the same day isn’t even the same each year. That was poorly said, but hopefully you know what I mean. Then I looked up the time standard and discovered it’s no longer called Greenwich Mean, but Coordinated Universal Time. So, that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know – but I hope it wasn’t a waste of your time!

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